AUGUSTA, Ga. – Mayor Hardie Davis Jr. announced today that Augusta has been selected as one of 10 new cities to participate in Bloomberg Philanthropies’ What Works Cities (WWC) initiative – one of the largest-ever philanthropic efforts to enhance the use of data and evidence in the public sector. Augusta is the first city in the state of Georgia to be named a “What Works City” and will receive technical assistance from world-class experts to build capacity and address local issues like neighborhood blight, drainage, and infrastructure.
“Being a ‘What Works City’ means we will use information and data to gain a better understanding of our citizens’ needs so that we can deliver public services more effectively and in an efficient manner,” said Mayor Davis, who has led Augusta’s charge to be an early adopter of the WWC philosophy. “We must do a better job for our citizens, using that information we have already gathered to improve services, revitalize our community, ultimately making Augusta a better and more attractive place to live, work and play.”
Davis says Augusta will establish and improve performance management programs to set, track and share progress toward priority goals, strengthen accountability and achieve better results. Our team will be led internally by Maurice McDowell, capital projects manager in administration; Mike Blanchard, deputy director of information technology; and Tonia Gibbons, director of community outreach in the Mayor’s office.
Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced Augusta’s selection as a WWC participant at the organization’s second annual summit in New York City this week. Augusta is among the first 77 cities nationwide to adopt the organization’s platform. Other WWC participants announced this week include Miami, Orlando, Fla., Indianapolis and Washington, D.C.
What Works Cities is an initiative launched by Bloomberg Philanthropies, designed to help members improve efficiency and overall service to customers. Through the WWC initiative, numerous noteworthy organizations will provide support to boost the city’s work, including:
• The Harvard Kennedy School Government Performance Lab – which conducts research on how governments can improve the results they achieve for their citizens
• Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Government Excellence – which helps cities build their decision-making capacity through evidence, transparency and citizen engagement
• Results for America – a national nonprofit working to improve outcomes for young people and their families
• The Sunlight Foundation – which uses technology to make governments more accountable and transparent.
“We want to use the data we have to address neighborhood revitalization in a transparent manner,” Mayor Davis said. “We want our data and information to be ‘consumable’ for residents as we work to develop a more collaborative approach to vitality and growth.”
The city’s Information Technology Department will manage the task of making data more accessible for public use – similar to the City Watch project.
“As the city’s involvement with the WWC initiative grows, there will be a coordinated effort among the various city departments to establish a framework of strategic priorities, and then demonstrate how data can be used to evaluate and improve performance,” said Mike Blanchard, deputy director of information technology for Augusta-Richmond County. The intended outcome is to illustrate the value that data can bring to conversations about strategy and direction in Augusta.
With support from a consortium of expert partners, What Works Cities are finding:
Learn more about the What Works Cities initiative at www.whatworkscities.org.
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